Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Fabric... Welcome to the Patriotic Quilter where I like to share all things quilty as well as red, white, and blue! Please feel free to look around and enjoy yourself! I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Tutorial to Transform Twill Tape

Hi All,

This month the Another Year of Schnibbles participants are working playing with Carrie's new Little Bites pattern, Morsel. 

You can find the pattern here at Carrie's store.  Can you see that the two rectangular ones on the top right use twill tape?  You can find preprinted tape in some sewing/quilt shops, but your best bet would be a scrapbook store or department.  There are lots of fun ones out there.

But say that you can't find something "just right" or you don't have a store nearby, or you are working away and it is 2 AM and nothing is open and you HAVE to finish your pinnie to write your blog to send to Sinta and Sherri for the parade in a few hours because it is the last night of the month!  In any of these cases, I have a fun solution for you.

Caution:  This technique is NOT permanent.  Water will ruin it.  I don't think you plan to get your pincushion wet, but if you do, don't use this technique.  If you want to try this, don't forget to "age" the front of your cushion BEFORE you sew your tape on it.

If you still want to proceed, you will need a few things.  One is twill tape.  I happened to have some in my scrapbook stash.  It was not plain.

As you can see, it has doggie paws on it.  Cute, but not the look I was going for.  But guess what?  The back is plain.  And I paid just as much for the back as I did the front!  I'm going to use it. 

But you are thinking, "Hey, it is 2 AM and I don't scrapbook!"  Never fear, perhaps you have some of this laying around?  I know I do!

Guess what?  This is twill tape and the back of it is plain, too!

Next you need help from your computer.  I like to use Powerpoint, but you can also do this in Word.  Open a new document and type in the phrase you would like to have on your twill tape.    I like to use Powerpoint because you can do a "landscape" document.  For this pinnie, the length of tape you need is right around 8 inches, so you can do it "portrait" style with 8.5" wide paper in Word.

Once you have typed in your phrase, start playing with fonts.  Also adjust the size of your font  so that your phrase will fill the length of tape that you need.  I like to copy the phrase several times so I can manipulate them differently and tell which one I like the best.

Here you can see some of my examples.  The top one is all in the same font.  The second one is the same font, but I changed the size of some of the key words.  The third one has all the same font but I've bolded the key words and the last one (my favorite) uses a different font altogether for the key words, plus the size is larger and it is bolded (though you can't really tell, because the font is thinner for those words.)  Play around with this.  There are some great standard fonts.  Because I am a scrapbooker, I have some cool fonts that I bought (including these) but there are also some great free ones availble.  Manipulate until you find something that you love.  When you are happy, go ahead and print out your examples. 
You will want to measure them to make sure they will fit your project.  If it is too long, just go in and make the size of the font smaller.  Also make sure that the print isn't too small.  If this is the case, you may need a shorter phrase.  Are the letters too big for the width of your tape?  If so, adjust for that.  Once you have the one that you want and you like it, save the document, then delete all of the examples except the one that you want to use and print another copy--this page will just have the phrase that you are wanting to use.  (You just saved all of them, so it is okay!)  Believe me, you don't want those extra ones getting in the way.  Experience has taught me well!
Next I like to draw lines with my ruler representing the width of the tape that I'm using.  This will ensure proper placement.
My tape was 1/2 inch wide, so I drew lines along the top and bottom that were a half inch apart, centering the text in the middle.  I like to make the vertical lines about a quarter of an inch from the beginning and ending of the phrase.  This is for reference--the tape will be longer on each side, but once you proceed, you can't see where the phrase starts or stops.
Next, put double-stick scotch tape all the way down the paper, right over the top of the phrase, keeping it within the space where the tape will be.  Carefully stick the twill tape on top of the sticky tape.
Do you see how the left edge of my twill is sort of sticking up?  NOT GOOD, I didn't notice this when I was working and it flopped.  You want a nice, clean edge to your twill tape and make sure that it is stuck down really well!  When I did the second attempt, I actually used a tiny strip of regular scotch tape to tape that end down. 
Remember that I'm using Powerpoint here.  If you are using Word, your phrase/tape will run across the short side of the page, not the long side.  Do the same prep and it will be fine.
Figure out which is the leading edge of you printer, and put that edge into the printer.  The idea is that you are going to run this sheet back through the printer and you want the phrase to be reprinted right on top of the original.  In my case, the left side is the leading edge and that is why I made sure that end was stuck down firmly.  (If you can't remember or are unsure, run another piece of plain paper through to see which side comes out of the printer first--again, I've been there!) 
It is a huge help if you remove all the blank sheets of paper from your printer.  See how my paper is in the printer just as if it was any old sheet that would be printed?  Don't worry, the printer will work fine (unless you don't have your tape firmly stuck down.)

Click the print button....

...and Voila!

The sheet and tape get printed on, right over the top of your tape, centered perfectly because you measured and made the guidelines!  Isn't this cool?!!

Now just take the sheet back to your work area and remove the twill tape.  It should come off easily.  You can now cut another length of twill and repeat to get as many custom printed pieces as you want.  I went ahead and reprinted on the wider, Moda tape.

**Remember, delete the extra phrases and then print your "working" page with just the phrase you want!

**Also remember not to sew this tape on until you are done aging your piece.

When I made the front of my "morsel,"  I knew I wanted to age it, so I did a tight zigzap over where the two pieces are overlapped.

You will sew the twill tape over the top, so it won't show, but will keep that seam together while you age.  I tea-dyed this, threw it in the dryer, then spayed it with water to dampen it again, and wadded it up and worked it in my hands like a piece of clay.  Every once in a while, I would press it dry and then dampen it again and repeat until it was nice and soft and "aged."

When I laid the twill tape over the seam, the twill looked too new!  Not a problem.  There are distressing inks also in the scrapbook store.  This one is called "antique linen."

Using a dauber, or a cotton ball apply the ink just to the edges of the twill tape.  (This example is the Moda tape--see how it is wider?  I forgot to photograph this step with my narrower tape, but I did the same thing to it.)

Just keeping it along the edge!  It is also a good idea to keep it on the paper, as you will get ink all along the edges.  When done and you move it, it should look like this:

You can see the "over inking" and when you look at the twill tape, you can see that the edges of the tape are now "aged"  (okay, they look dirty--same thing!)

Just to prove that I recycled the twill tape:

Now that the front of the pin cushion is all aged and dry, just stitch the tape down and trim.

Now it is all ready for buttons and then it is time to sew it to the back, turn, and fill.

I hope this tutorial inspires you!  The possibilities are endless--you can personalize with a name or any appropriate phrase, scripture, etc.

I believe there are chemicals which will make the printer ink permanent, but I don't know exactly what they are or how to use them.  If you do, please leave a comment about it!  Also feel free to ask any questions as I may have left something out!

I hope you try this for your next Morsel!  If so, please send a photo!

Have a great day!

PS:  I couldn't help but have fun with the title of this post--I LOVE alliteration!


  1. Wonderful ! I would have see this sooner...
    Will make some others !

  2. Great tutorial. I have done this many times in my scrapbooking days and can vouch for your excellent instructions! Well done! I think the product you are referring to is Bubble Jet Set, and I have come across a couple tutorials online
    making your own.



    http://thequiltrat.blogspot.ca/2009/09/faux-bubble-jet-set-recipe.html ** good tip at the end of this one

  3. Excellent JoAnne! That is a fantastic tut... I seriously am going to give this a try. I have saved that twill tape bundle wrappings from Moda forever...

  4. This is awesome! Great tutorial! Thanks!

  5. This is a cute little project, and something that can be done in a small bit of time. I have some Bubble Jet Set in my cupboard, so maybe I will have a go.

  6. Wow...this is such an incredible idea! I have yards and yards of the Moda tape...hmmm...

  7. Sinta had posted about this on her blog....first, I am so happy to find your wonderful blog, and second this is such a wonderful tip!!!!! Thanks so much,and again nice to find you!! Happy New Year.

  8. Thanks for taking the time to explain this great technique!